Tag Archive | "thailand water snake"

Homalopsis buccata Almost Rips My Finger Off

OK, exaggerating a bit.

OK, a lot.

There is nothing quite like a bite from a snake, when you’re completely not expecting it. I’ve caught a number of these “Puff Faced Water Snakes” – Homalopsis buccata, and while one bit the tongs, none has ever attempted to strike at me. That changed the other night while on a herping trip with Courtney from North Carolina in the states.

I grabbed it fine the first time, and it death-rolled so fiercely I thought it was going to break it’s own neck. I let it go back on the ground by the pond I’d just picked it up at.

The flashlight was shining right in his face – and I was coming up on the approach from behind, but, in hindsight – a bit too much to the side, and he could still see my hand coming. He twisted and struck backward and sideways to grab my middle finger fiercely. I did the twitch, you know, where you jerk your arm in an exaggerated fashion, twirling the snake around like a circus baton, by the mouth on your finger – putting the teeth MUCH deeper than they were originally? Yeah, I did that.

He was NOT letting go, so I asked Courtney to gently put the snake hook point through the jaw between my finger and the joint. Eventually the top opened enough, and then I snuck the bottom finger out. No re-bite, which I was thankful for.

This was a juvenile, but these snakes have powerful jaws, and 26 teeth (I counted the puncture marks on my finger). I was bleeding good, and Courtney got a few pics. Will put one up when she sends me one.

Though a snake is not “known” to bite… do not take it for granted. Practice the same techniques as always to keep from getting bitten. Twenty-six teeth in your finger is not a good feeling… more importantly, you could break some of them in your finger – harming the snake.

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Puff Faced Water Snake – Non Venomous – Not Dangerous

Puff Faced Water Snake - Homalopsis buccata from Nakhon si Thammarat

Juvenile Puff Faced Water Snake - Homalopsis buccata - Not Dangerous

Photo Copyright 2010 Vern Lovic

Name – Homalopsis buccata (Puff-faced Water Snake)

Thai – (ngu hua galog, ngu leuam ao)

Size – Maximum about 120 centimeters. The young are very thin – like a pencil. The adults are thick – like a forearm or even a human leg.

Range – all over Thailand and almost always beside or in water: Pools, streams, rivers, puddles, lakes. They are not found on hills or mountains.

Food - fish, frogs, tadpoles primarily.

Behavior – The water snake Homalopsis buccata lives in fresh and salty mixed with fresh – brackish water. These snakes live in and near any body of water – natural or man-made. Puff Faced Watersnakes are found almost always in the water or on the bank. Small holes in the bank are often ‘home’.  This snake is primarily active at night, but I have found 2 of them during the day time. eds on fish, frogs and frog spawn.

Young - born alive without eggs. Coloration – orange and black bands. Adults are darker orange and even grey color without any orange.

Danger – I’ve had a couple of these snakes and they don’t seem to bite at all. Not saying they never do, but I think their temperament is nice and calm.

Range - Bangladesh; Myanmar, Cambodia; Thailand; Vietnam; Indonesia; Laos; Malaysia; Singapore; India; Nepal; Pulau Bangka

Homalopsis buccata – Puff-faced Water Snake

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Homalopsis
Species: H. buccata
Binomial name
Homalopsis buccata

Classification by Linnaeus in 1758

 

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Plumbeous Water Snake – Venomous – Not Dangerous

The Plumbeous Water Snake (AKA: Rice Paddy Snake) is a venomous snake, though it is not dangerous to humans.

Enhydris plumbea (Plumbeous Water Snake, and Rice Paddy Snake, Puff-faced Water snake)

Thais say: (ngoo bping)

Length: average length for these snakes is about 50cm (19 inches)

Range: The plumbeous water snake is found all over Thailand as well as nearly all of southeast Asia.

Habitat: Near or in water. Lakes, streams, rivers, puddles, marshes, any where water is.

Active Time? Diurnal – active in daylight mostly.

Food: Food is generally fish and frogs, though other opportunistic eating may take place.

Defensive Behavior: Typical s-shaped striking position. Not very mobile on land.

Venom Toxicity: Venomous. Not toxic enough venom to affect humans severely. No known cases of death due to bite from this species in the herpetological literature.

Offspring:

Notes: As you might have guessed, these snakes are most commonly found in the vast rice fields of Thailand. These are common snakes, we have found two of them recently – one in a small pond with many frogs. One at a resort with a stream and some shallow pools of water.

Enhydris plumbea Classification

“Rice Paddy Snake”

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Homalopsinae
Genus: Enhydris
Species: E. plumbea
Binomial name: Enhydris plumbea

(classified by F. Boie, in year 1827)

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Jagor’s Water Snake – Venomous – Not Dangerous

Thailand water snakes are close to or living in the water. You won’t likely see the Jagor’s water snake anywhere near your house or out in a Thailand park unless there is water there.

Enhydris jagori (Jagor’s Water Snake)

Thais say: (ngoo sy rung ly kwang)

Length: usually less than .5 meters (50cm, 19 inches)

Range: All over Thailand

Habitat: I have seen these Jagor’s water snakes in small pools of water at a city dump as well as a mountains stream. They are very dark and difficult to see.

Active Time?

Food: Fish and frogs.

Defensive Behavior:

Venom Toxicity: There are no known cases of death from this snake. Probably the venom is not very strong for humans.

Offspring: Nothing known.

Notes: The liklihood of you seeing the Jagori’s Water Snake in Thailand whether you live or visit here, is very small.

Jagor’s water snake scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Sauropsida
Subclass: Diapsida
Superorder: Lepidosauria
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Infraorder: Alethinophidia
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Homalopsinae
Genus: Enhydris
Species: Enhydris jagori

Binomial name
Bungarus fasciatus
Classified by Schneider in year 1801

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Tentacled Water Snake – Venomous – Not Dangerous

Erpeton tentaculum (Tentacle Snake, Fishing Snake)

Thais say: (ngoo kra deng)

Length: average snakes are up to 50-90 cm as adults.

Range: Central and southern Thailand only

Habitat: Tentacled water snakes are found in lakes, rice fields, streams, and other shallow water that is either moving or stagnant – especially that which is murky. It is found in all three types of water environments including salt, fresh, and brackish (combined) water. This snake waits patiently on the bottom and waits for something to wander by – whereupon it seizes it in it’s mouth. Amazingly the tentacled snake can stay underwater for 30 minutes on a breath.

During the dry season in Thailand – from January to April, the Erepton tentaculatus buries it’s body in mud to stay wet and cool, with it’s head out of the moud – of course. They do need oxygen to survive.

Active Time? When night is falling it is known to be more active.

Food: Fish. To lure the prey closer to provide the opportunity for a strike these tentacled snakes use their tentacles as lures – like tiny worms. When the fish come closer they strike. When striking their eyes are retracted and they aim for where the fish will be, not where it is. This is an amazing feat. In actuality the snake is tricking the fish with a movement of it’s body – into fleeing. But, it knows exactly where it will go when it flees. A very unique snake.

Defensive Behavior: Bites when provoked, but not with normal handling.

Venom Toxicity: Weak venom that is not known to affect humans much. Not deadly. These are not biters, per se, and even when handled they are not known to bite much. The fangs are small, in the rear of the mouth, and the fangs are only partially grooved, not made for injecting large amounts of toxic venom. Their venom works well on fish they eat.

Offspring: Each year this water snake gives birth to a half to a dozen live young which are between 20 and 40 cm in length and about a pencil’s diameter in girth.

Notes: Because it spends it’s life buried in mud, or under the water looking for prey it is a rather difficult snake to catch. Recently on a herping trip in southern Thailand I believe a group of us saw one, but, when we reached in with the tongs to attempt to grab the snake, it had already darted.

These snakes are either lightly striped or have blotches. Their color is either hues of grey or brown.

Erpeton tentaculatum

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Homalopsinae
Genus: Erpeton
Species: E. tentaculatum
Classified as: Erpeton tentaculatum
Classified by, Lacepede in year, 1800.

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Welcome to Thailand Snakes…

Thailand has 200+ snake species with over 60 of them - venomous. I created this site as a way to educate Thais and visitors to Thailand about snakes. Many people kill the snakes they see in Thailand, while in many cases - they are non-venomous and completely harmless. With this site I hope to give people a better idea what is harmful and what isn't.

Browse the many snake photos and videos here so you can identify snakes you see on your porch, in your bed, or underfoot.

If you have been bitten by a snake - go to a hospital FIRST. Don't waste time looking it up on the internet. With some snakes you need to have medical help as fast as possible. With others you have some time. I know a Thai man whose brother died in less than 10 minutes from a snake bite.

There are venomous (some say 'poisonous' erroneously) snakes everywhere in Thailand. Friends have had cobras in their kitchen, and others had kraits in the garage. Vipers love bushes and trees near water and walkways.

Bookmark this site so you can quickly identify snakes you have seen. Notice the variety of venomous and non-venomous snakes in Thailand - and realize that they come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and patterns.

Email - info@thailandsnakes.com

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